Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding

Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding
© Getty Images

The Senate rejected a bill on Thursday that would have permanently banned the use of federal funding for abortions.

The bill would have enshrined in law a long-standing provision that is tacked on to appropriations bills every year, forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions in programs like Medicaid.

It also would have banned ObamaCare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' Cicilline on Trump investigations versus legislation: 'We have to do both' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ky.) teed up the largely symbolic vote for Thursday, one day ahead of the March for Life, the annual march against abortion that takes place in Washington.

The bill wasn't expected to pass, but Republicans typically schedule symbolic votes on abortion close to the dates for the March for Life and the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. 

A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with 60 votes needed to begin debate. 

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret Collins The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Congress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance Senators say Trump open to expanding background checks MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Overnight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Overnight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare MORE (R-Alaska) broke with their party to vote against the measure while Democratic Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyEx-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Democrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines MORE (Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) Manchin The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (W.V.) voted with Republicans.

Democrats criticized McConnell for holding a vote on the bill instead of voting on House-passed measures to end the government shutdown. 

"We know that a bill opening the government would pass the Senate, yet we're voting on a bill attacking women's health," tweeted Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Juul's lobbying efforts fall short as Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes | Facebook removes fact check from anti-abortion video after criticism | Poll: Most Democrats want presidential candidate who would build on ObamaCare Trump's sinking polls embolden Democrats to play hardball Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-Wash.).

The vote illustrated how divided the new Congress is on the issue of abortion. 

Leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus vowed this week to end the Hyde Amendment for good.